Fishing Report (Spring 2024)

This seventy pound Halibut was landed by a father/son combo fishing offshore

Spring is upon us and those of us living on Canada’s West Coast are patiently waiting for the arrival of the summer months which brings longer and warmer days.   In early Spring the saltwater fishing opportunities increase and the sport fishing productivity dramatically improves.  The weather and water conditions improve as well.   This is a favorite time for anglers to begin their spring-summer season and is a time for early season Chinook, halibut, and ling cod angling on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.  In Barkley Sound the “early summer Chinook” migrating to the big southerly watersheds such as the vast Columbia River system and even Puget Sound swim down the West Coast.  These migratory salmon come into the islands close to Ucluelet and come into surf line areas and much of Barkley Sound and feed on the rich resources of bait fish.  With the dramatic change in the offshore winds many fisher persons venture out to the many sandy banks and in May begin fishing halibut which migrate from the deep water to the shallows.  This is a very popular sport fishing opportunity.  It is best to check halibut size regulations before any trip.

There are many popular spots to salmon fish at this time of year in the pristine and protected waters of Barkley Sound.  Surf Line areas like Cree Island, Austin Island, Meares, Edward King, Sail Rock, Great Bear, Mara Rock, and Swale Rock are fantastic areas that often have the best salmon fishing opportunities and productivity.  Usually at this time of year the areas will have great sport salmon fishing if the bait fish resources are abundant.  With colder water copepods abundance play an important role as a key component in the salmon food chain.  Squid also begin to show especially around the Ucluelet Islands, Wya Point and Florencia which are inside the one-mile nautical mile.  Squid also show-up around areas close to Bamfield, Bamfield Wall, and out towards Cape Beale and Edward King Island.  As well needlefish and small herring can be in huge dense abundant schools.  When the bait fish are close the salmon are near by.  The salmon and bait are normally in water ranging from eighty to one hundred and thirty feet.  Currently the Feeder Chinook which can be termed local fish are ranging from seven to fourteen pounds.  The transient salmon have been up to as large as twenty pounds or better.  Most anglers will fish with a variety of octopus, squid, and needlefish hootchies.  Hootchies and cuttle fish known as an AORL 12 and Green Spatter back are very popular.   Spoons from two and a half to four inch in size will work well.  Various Skinny G’s are fantastic.  Smaller spoons in cookies and cream and Irish Cream are terrific.

Halibut begin to show in good numbers by mid-May as they migrate to the many sandy banks offshore.   Halibut are also around the Swiss buoy in Trevor Channel, Austin Island, and Swale Rock.

On April 1st Prawn fishing opened in the Alberni Inlet and many areas of Barkley Sound.   Many avid fisher persons will throw out their traps before their fishing day and then check them later after fishing.  This is a remarkable time of year for sport fishing prawns.  Limits also vary in the different areas.

The 34th Annual Sproat Loggers Winter/Spring Derby was attended with well over 450 participants in early March.  Don Deforest one of the derby’s founders who spent countless hours yearly organizing the derby suddenly passed away on February 5th.  Don’s legacy continued with other derby committee members making the derby “happen” in Don’s name.  Those that knew Don will dearly miss him.  The three largest fish in the Derby were landed by Mike Roberts at 21.5 lbs., Brian Elliott 19.6 lbs. and Dave Fleck 17 lbs.  The weather was not the best for this first derby of the season but some good-sized fish were weighed in over the derby weekend.   We expect terrific sport salmon fishing in the spring months.   The later summer months will see some world-class fishing as West Coast Vancouver Island returns have been termed abundant in the early season forecasts.


Tight lines and Good Fishing,

Doug Lindores

Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing